01 Feb

Travel industry’s contribution to UK economy increases as sector delivers 36% growth since 2014

ABTA launches ‘Driving Growth – The economic value of outbound travel’


The contribution to the UK economy from outbound travel has increased by a third since 2014, reveals ABTA – The Travel Association.


The overall contribution to the UK economy from outbound travel now stands at £37.1 billion and 1.8% of GDP, up 36% from £27.1 billion in 2014. This is the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the travel industry, which takes account of direct spend on travel services and holidays, as well as a range of associated products and services such as duty free, cameras and sun tan lotion.


The findings are from ABTA’s new report Driving Growth – The economic value of outbound travel which is an analysis of the economic contribution of the UK’s outbound travel industry*.


The report lays to rest the argument that outbound travel doesn’t contribute to the UK economy. The analysis finds travellers now spend more in the UK before they travel than they do while abroad. UK travellers spent £45.7 billion in 2017, compared to £44.8bn overseas, an increase of almost £10bn since 2014.


This is the third report from ABTA of this nature and not only demonstrates the significant contribution the sector makes to the UK, but also highlights its strength, resilience and ability to grow amidst global challenges and uncertainty. 


The direct economic impact of travel – the revenue generated from specific travel services, such as flights, and package holidays - is £15.9 billion and 0.8% of GDP. Again, this has increased from £11.7 billion in 2014.


The travel industry is a big employer within the UK, directly employing 221,000 jobs and supporting a further 526,000 jobs in the wider economy including retail staff and manufacturers. Both have increased since 2014 – from 214,000 and 435,000 respectively.


The report also says that for the industry to strengthen its position as a driver for economic growth and significant supporter of UK jobs, Government needs to truly recognise the contribution the industry makes and look to support it with the right policy and tax frameworks.


Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:


“Too often the contribution of the UK outbound travel industry is overlooked in favour of a myth that overseas travel creates a ‘tourism deficit’ with money going overseas which could be spent in the UK. The evidence is clear that this is not the case - the benefits of the outbound sector are being felt by the wider economy in terms of jobs, support for other businesses and tax contributions to the Treasury. In order to continue to grow and thrive, government needs to make sure the right tax and policy framework is in place.”


For further information, contact:

020 3117 0596 or press@abta.co.uk

Emma Brennan, Head of Media and PR, ebrennan@abta.co.uk or 020 3117 0541

Tom Sommerfelt, Senior Media Relations Executive, tsommerfelt@abta.co.uk or 020 3117 0531


Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer on 020 3693 0183.

Web: www.abta.com

Twitter: @ABTAtravel


Notes to editors

*ABTA’s ‘Driving Growth – The economic value of outbound travel’ report is based on analysis by The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) on 2017 figures, which is the most recent full-year data available.


ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.


We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.


ABTA has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.